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Ask HN: How is your mental health?
165 points by smithmayowa on Nov 5, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 153 comments
How and how well do you keep track of your mental health, particularly for those with a history of mental health issues, and those with a family history of mental issues.

As for me I like to think that I try really hard to monitor my mental health, I suffer from anxiety disorder and my father and mother both had mental health issues at one point in their life, which makes me constantly fear for my mental health and hence my monitoring of my mental state of mind like a hulk.

Therapy is more effective than it has any business being. If you can make it happen, try it.

I’m going to start by saying I have a mood disorder, and I don’t understand anxiety disorders because they’re part of a completely different world from mine. Conversations I’ve had with people that have anxiety disorders have reinforced this idea that I really don’t understand anxiety disorders or relate to them.

The worst parts for me are some times in the past several years when I have moved, changed jobs, changed relationships, and had relatives who passed away. To be clear, when I say “and”, I am talking about many of these things happening at the same time. Having strong relationships, having a therapist, and keeping a regular schedule mean the difference between seeing me as my usual self and seeing me disappear for a few weeks.

I have also decided never again to tell my manager any details about my condition. In the future it is an “unspecified, diagnosed disorder for which I am receiving professional treatment.” I was lulled into a false sense of security by having excellent managers at the beginning of my career and it turns out that I was very lucky; most managers are fairly mediocre and will do damage more often than not if you give them too many details about your mental health. Find somebody else to talk to about it—there are therapists, friends, and support groups e.g. on Facebook.

I have a mood disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

This is the most accurate answer in the thread.

> Having strong relationships, having a therapist, and keeping a regular schedule.

These are the things I'm actively working on. I'm only 6 months into working full time. It's monumentally difficult just to achieve those 3 things. I haven't worked an 8 hour day since training because I often feel drained and unproductive and end up just going home.

Right now, I'm doing CBT, and my therapist and I are focusing on ways for me to feel less drained at work. It's amazing how little things like taking 5 minute breaks and not eating at my desk have helped.

I feel like everyone I know who works in tech is either seeing a therapist or would benefit from one. If you can make it happen, try it.

Have you noticed anything from doing CBT? Or what has your experience been like so far?

I've done it before, but have been thinking about trying it again, but wanted to talk to others that have tried it.

I started therapy and I think 90% of it is having a private no judgement relationship with another human being.

I wonder if you've ever tried remote therapy video apps or phone calls, or if you do exclusively 1-on-1 in-person sessions? I don't really have any particular acute problem to go to a therapist with, but am more curious just to have someone to talk to about some things I noticed in my personality which may or may not be normal (and I want to know if they are!). Since and the remote sessions are much more affordable than in-person sessions here when it comes to something recurring, I wonder if this is a reasonable solution, or if something remote is less likely to be useful.

Use the following strategies: 1. Meditate daily for 15 minutes. Try vedic indian meditations. 2. Keep track of your mood using some app. 3. If your mood is bad for consistently 3 days, then open pastebin and write down about everything you are feeling and going in your head.

Most small problems with mental health can be dealt by bringing in consciousness. Simple example, whenever you are feeling nervous, force you brain to just observe whats going on in your body instead of being an active participant in the process. You will immediately realize you start feeling less nervous. Similarly, you can try for anxiety.

For more serious problems, it is best to seek medical help on periodic basis. A meetup with doctor every 3 months is reasonable.

I love your comment. Especially this:

> Most small problems with mental health can be dealt by bringing in consciousness.

I think that what I do is, in the end, the same as you -- I just do it a little differently. Years ago, I developed a habit of questioning why I'm doing whatever I'm doing -- particularly if what I'm doing is unusual or emotional.

The key, for me, is that the question and answers are intended to bring light on things to make the unconscious conscious. The answer should be accepted as a point of information and without judgement (actually doing that is hard, though, and comes with practice).

Once you have an idea of what's happening with you, you are in a better position to notice and work on actual issues, if they exist.

Thank you for appreciating my idea and I am glad you are following something similar. However, let me give you a suggestion to improve it. The first step to bring consciousness should simply start by observing what is happening and not question why. Being in a state of observation is a neutral state. When you question something your mind goes into conflict mode. That can aggravate the situation. Hence, simply observe and understand what is going on without any judgement or trying to find solution. Once you find inner peace, then move to the next step of diving deep into the problem and finding solution.

15 minutes is a really long time to meditate. Anyone who's new to it, I suggest starting with 30 seconds and work your way up to 15 in increments of 30 seconds to a minute. It's like starting with an empty bar when weightlifting.

Meditating in the shower is pretty easy IMHO and you can easily go up to 15 min, even for beginners. Meditation is mostly about anchoring your mind to something, most people do it with their breathing because that's what we see in movies and stuff.

In the shower, you can use the sound of the water or the feeling of the water on your head to anchor your mind. Since it's something you don't control and there are multiple sensory reactions created from it, it's pretty easy to be present and observe your thoughts.

This doesn't necessarily work for everyone but I have tried many types of meditations and this one is the easiest for me.

15 minutes is a lot of water usage. Bathtubs seem ideal to meditate in.

Why don't you try any of these meditation with an open mind and let me know how many minutes were you able to meditate.


I've tried many of those exercises and I agree that you can easily do 15 minutes the first time. Consistency is the problem I found. When I started at 30 seconds and built up slowly, I found it much easier to build a habit and do it consistently. Again I use the weightlifting analogy - I can squat close to my body weight, without any warm up, when I'm out of shape. But I can only do it once and I need a week to recover and I'm likely to injure myself. If I start with the empty bar and increase weight gradually for a month, I can work out every other day and hit my target consistently.

I second the writing. Having it on page, whatever the worry/worries, makes it tangible in a way that can be "solved."

I think it's important to distinguish between "mental health issues" and a "healthy mental space". These are things you can do it maintain a healthy mental space, but people with mental health issues probably _can't_ start meditating daily for 15 min, or journaling, or exercising, or any number of other things that are helpful.

Which really just means "do these things if you're struggling" is skipping the hardest step, and not very useful.

Every single meditation expert I know has given a warning with it. For some people, even 5 minutes is harsh. I've been in groups where people just break down and cry at that point.

One meditation coach once told me a story of one of his clients who did a 20 minute guided session, and he went out of it with vomiting, diarrhea, and was really angry at the guy. But a few days later, he felt something clear up and asked for more sessions. He says it's normal, and with corporate counseling, he normally restricts them to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15, 20, 30 for a week each.

I'm curious why this always gets downvoted on HN with no comment. That's quite a bit of disconnect with other groups.

Is it because a difference in terminology? On HN, meditation seems to mean 'relax and do nothing'. Elsewhere, it seems to mean 'concentrate on only one thing', which usually makes people recall traumatic situations.

Or does it come across as too prescriptive with little evidence to back it?

People confuse the term meditation and mindfulness. Maybe like development vs programming.

Mindfulness is what has been spreading, but usually it is intoduced as meditation.

I didn't downvote but I can't imagine someone vomiting by simple guided mindfulness exercise. Telling someone to "focus on your breathing" or "if you find your distracted by thoughts, just be aware of those thoughts, and return to your breathing" doesn't strike me as very invasive.

Why would meditation lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea? I suppose I can understand where the sobbing might come from if you're in a tough space and dwelling on sad thoughts, but the other two?

Indeed. Its all about control, or the perception of it. And the simple fact that its just another thing to monitor and manage. Many never realise this and become slaves to their feelings. Feelings are not core truths, they are just data.

Of course its completely reasonable to feel exasperated and angry about things that are out off line with your value system. But knowing this is directly related to the distance between what is real in the world, and where your value is set, gives you enough information to work with.

What makes Vedic Indian meditation special?

One of the things about the mantras is that if you chant them , your breathing is improved. In fact someone I know who has been doing this for a long time says that a lot of breathing problems go away if you do this regularly.

If you don’t want to believe all this , Id go with the following : Just like music, your attention is drawn towards the chant and hopefully stay there :)

Well India is where Yoga originated from and Meditation is a sub-segment within the ambit of Yoga. It is an art developed and perfected over hundreds of year and somehow you will feel that difference if you give it a try. It is really for you to experience and find out if you find it better. Let me give you a good starting point.


The issue with most kinds of mental health is that the more it affects you the less you're aware of the fact that it's affecting you.

My mental health, without any discernible disorders, reached a very low point last year where I essentially stormed out of a HR meeting because I was "toxic", the toxicity revolved around feelings of frustration due to the fact that I couldn't get anyone to look at a problem I had for six months, which led to me informing the internal providers of that service that I would not be using those services for the next project I was a part of. Which hurt many peoples feelings, I suppose.

As part of the stipend for staying (because, I had quit on the spot) I requested a therapist, I saw him a total of 15 times I believe and he coerced me to exercise a lot more, but ultimately failed to find anything "wrong" with me mentally and stated that my behaviour was quite healthy during that period.. (but he might have been just telling me what I wanted to hear as there's little value in antagonising me during therapy, probably).

Anyway, even with excercise, it's far-far too late, I've basically "turned-off" at work, I don't even try, my entire job has become avoiding doing my job.

I still come home tired, exhausted and utterly emotionally drained, but no work is done, and I don't learn, I don't excite my passion.

No winners.

I recently started interviewing in other companies, I'm hoping this feeling doesn't carry over, and I hope I haven't truly lost my passion.

Yes. Get the hell out as soon as you can! I made a change a few weeks ago after going through a milder version of what you're experiencing. I took a pay cut but I am so, so much happier.

I don't dread waking up anymore. I like being alive again. I haven't complained to my wife even once since I left my last job. The guilt of piling my work problems on my wife was getting big, but I needed so badly to confide in someone about it.

Good luck! You can do it!!

>I'm hoping this feeling doesn't carry over, and I hope I haven't truly lost my passion.

If it's like my experience, it will probably be a hangover at your new job for a few weeks, but if you are mindful of it and don't let it make a bad new impression, it'll go away. This is assuming a new job isn't just as bad.

Going to weekly therapy is the only way I really track anything. I've been struggling a lot since my ex and I broke up last year. Earlier this year, I started thinking about how my dad treated me growing up and how it was (is) a type of emotional abuse. He's probably narcissistic. I'm sure it's a big factor in why I dated someone like my ex and why I've put up with so much shit in my relationships, friends, work.

And now at work, I'm being treated poorly by a particular person and he's generally offensive to everyone. He's kind of like my dad in a lot of ways and it's "triggering" me. Managers and HR don't seem to care much. I'm also concerned about retaliation because this guy came here with a handful of other people, a couple of which are extremely high level that can hold me back and give problem guy preferential treatment.

I'm one of few female engineers here and I feel like people with power are looking at me as whiny, it doesn't feel good. I already have too many short stints on my resume so I feel like I can't leave and I suck at tech interviews too...partly because "showing my thought process" is terrifying when I've grown up with all my thoughts and feelings being used as a weapon against me.

I have almost no friends in the city I moved to, I miss my mom and my brother a lot. I could try harder to make some new friends here but work is exhausting and I just don't feel good and I'd rather stay home and cuddle my dog. She is pretty much the only thing that gives me energy. :/

I just want to say thank you for sharing. I'm also one of few female engineers at my company. It's hard to find friends as an adult and it can feel even lonelier when I see people at work getting together to play sports or generally have "guy hang out time". When I have brought up complaints at work I also feel like people don't take them seriously. The response has basically been, "Can you just wait for him to retire?" and "You should be grateful". It's hard. One thing that has been helpful is finding some sort of community. Treat it as a non-negotiable part of your life. There are lots of people out there looking for connections and friendships, it can take time before you find the right group. Everyday you wake up and do things for your employer. Everyday you should also wake up and do things for yourself. Like having lunch with someone or playing a boardgame with a group. In the moment "playing a boardgame" may sounds silly and trivial compared to important "work" and "career", so instead I call it, "maintaining my health". Don't neglect your mental health. It's important. Also, dogs are almost always better than people.

I identify a lot with what you're saying. I'm one of just a couple females on a big engineering/product team and it often doesn't feel good.

If you're in the Bay Area would be happy to meet up for a coffee. I understand the desire to just want to stay home a lot too, so no pressure. Email in profile.

Sounds like you could use a bit of help. I've had a lot of similar issues as those you mentioned. My advice is: read a lot of books on how to deal with narcissism, and psychopathy. `in sheeps clothing` is one I liked. `beating the work place bully` is another. There might be tons of better sources, but those are the ones I read. Part of the issue is some people will take everything from you if left unchecked, and you can do very little to make them realize they're harming you (think Trump). And even if they realize it, it only stops them that one time. So aggress-ing these people is something that needs to be done often. You have to judge-judy their ass at least a few times every time you have a conversation with them.

Also read about wait vs interrupt culture [https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/LuXb6CZG4x7pDRBP8/wait-vs-in...]. Generally women are spoken over by men at work. And of the men its the loudest and largest egos that get their voices heard regardless of quality or veracity of words. Most statements are just opinions, and because the dunning-kruger effect grants these people with confidence, they will just speak whatever opinion they have as facts.

You should also really try and meet people you can connect with outside of work, I find having people around helps as a mental shield to all the toxic people in your life. Because work can be competitive, people have tendencies to play the asshole card there far more often than in other aspects of life. It helps with sanity to have a better balance of people. Try meetups/clubs (for coders? for girl coders?, I'm in a book club and I like it), or classes (yoga? dance? martial arts?), or try volunteering (a place where you might find more people with empathy). Or do all of those combined.

Honestly, pretty awful. I'm fresh out of college, making 155K in my first job, but I feel miserable because I can't sleep in NYC, the love of my life lives across the country and I feel like we're growing apart, and because I work so much I no longer have any hobbies.

I grew up poor and now I'm making more money than I ever imagined I could so I feel like I can't complain too much, but as soon as I hit the 1 year mark and am no longer obligated to pay back my signing/relocation bonus and fees associated with breaking my lease, I'm moving to be with my SO (if we make it to that point.) It's not worth it.

Classic tale. You've transcended your previous life and your old ways of seeing things are holding you back. This is the kind of internal resistance that keeps fat people fat, poor people poor, etc. It just doesnt "feel right" to be successful to them.

Why is your SO not coming to you?

I had the exact same situation as you out of university. Except my SO moved to the city with me. If we were separated, I would have either:

a) Broke it off

b) Moved

c) Asked her to move in with me

I'm so glad I didn't have to make that choice. It would have crippled my career (leaving the city). I hope it works out for you and the relationship is worth any possible career damage.

My first programming job I made a whopping $28k a year, back in 2006, in Chicago. That's $35k in today's dollars, and ~$55k taking the cost of living of NYC into account.

Hell, you're currently making about what I do after 10+ years of experience even taking cost of living into account (of course I stupidly never left Chicago). Use that salary to leverage a better trajectory than I ever got.

Assuming your love is on the west coast somewhere, you should be able to find something close to her that pays comparably well.

Just do your best to stick it out and keep looking. A year really isn't that long. I've hated my current job for the past two years but I'm still here (well I desperately need to leave, but it has some perks, like working remotely, and it's hard to find a new job when you're planning a wedding, which thankfully is done now). Having that job on your resume will help you negotiate down the line.

I spent two years of my life in NYC. I hope you already are using earplugs? If not, go down to the drugstore and buy the heaviest decibel rating you can find.

Set some hard boundaries around work. It's a city where people overwork like it's a mark of virtue. Plus, since you're not planning to stay, you don't need to grind yourself to death to climb the corporate hierarchy.

Make time to talk to your SO almost every day. When I lived half a world away, I called each morning during the week since her wakeup time was shortly before my bedtime. From coast to coast is a little more awkward, but finding such a time (afternoon commute for her, after dinner for you or the like) is a powerful ritual.

Seconding the earplugs, also - blackout curtains and an eyemask.

Wishing the parent poster the best of luck with everything.

> How and how well do you keep track of your mental health, particularly for those with a history of mental health issues

I do some good old-fashioned journaling by hand. There's never been software for this sort of thing that I liked, and it feels more cathartic to write it by hand than to type it out. It does get hard at times, admittedly, with things like a lackluster job searching experience, friends also having issues, and a host of other issues that you run into in life, but such is life. I'm just trying to do my best to get through it :) Actively making an effort to spend time around others definitely helps.

Pretty good. It's not all sunshine but it's all workable. My strategies are:

1. journaling for the feedback loop

2. meditation in times of stress or uncertainty

3. exercise, regularly

4. quality sleep, as close to 8 hours as I can manage

5. a mix of intentionally alone time and social time with others - time alone builds me up, but time with others maintains important relationships

Something interesting about alone and together time is that it really depends on the other people. Some people recharge me, and others just snap everything.

For me it is very hard to tell how my mental health is. I usually track it by looking back at conversations with people I care about, which can get weird. When things get bad, I tend to dissociate a little as a sort of defense mechanism. This time last year, I was more of an automatic process than a person, which was caused by essentially being the only person responsible for maintaining undocumented legacy software with a very critical manager who had never managed a developer before and didn't understand the requests he was making. This combined with an expensive chronic medical condition and the inability to save enough money to support myself if he finally fired me caused me to basically check out.

Now things have completely flipped, and it's pretty confusing. I got a job that I like and switched industries from healthcare infrastructure to manufacturing, and I actually believe in my company / like my manager / make a little more money, and by living in a house with 4 friends I've known forever I'm saving a ton. But I also have a 2.5 hour round-trip commute, and live in a city with such bad infrastructure that things like getting groceries have a huge amount of friction associated with them.

The weird thing is that the tiredness/lack of spare time/time dilation that comes with a living situation like this feels like dissociation, and the fact that I can't move forward with my previous goals effectively makes me feel like I am atrophying as a person. I'll probably do this for another year or so.

I started a new job in January and although it was all right at first, it wasn't until long when my boss and I started being at odds with one another. As early as three months in he said multiple times that I "should know how to X by know" and later on said that I "hadn't improved since I started."

I dreaded going into work everyday, primarily because of him. I started looking for a new job six months in and I'm still looking.

About a month ago I started working with a remote dev, and it's been like night and day. Not only is he incredibly patient with me, but we have a good rapport and I'm unafraid to ask him questions. While he does give me fair critiques (never harsh), he's also complimented my work which has been a huge bonus.

This new arrangement's supposed to be temporary, and I'm hoping I can work under the remote dev full-time. I'm dreading the possibility that I may work under my original boss again.

But for now, my mental health has improved ten-fold. My original boss still works in the same area as me, and although his presence still gives me some anxiety at least I don't have to converse with him.

I don't know you at all; so I'm going to give you a piece of advice that helped me when I was a young sysadmin, and I'm going to hope it applies.

If you join an established company, in the beginning at the very least; that company has the responsibility to give you focus and training on the requisites. The only times this doesn't apply is when you are a senior, joining management, or creating a new team entirely.

If you're an individual contributer for an established team, you should feel empowered to push back, because as long as you are attentive and put effort in; you can do no wrong.

They hired you, for your skills, for your attitude, now it's up to them to facilitate your work if they want it. Never feel ashamed for not knowing something, for it is their responsibility to have given you that knowledge. Never feel ashamed of not having work to do, for it is their responsibility to feed it to you should you be able.

The blame is never on the IC, unless they're not trying.

I'll add to this from my experience in the Army because they really grok this concept. If my platoon sergeant overheard me telling a private, "you don't know X and Y," he'd dismiss that private, and he'd be demanding to know why I hadn't trained and mentored that soldier and what my plan was to fix the situation.

A good supervisor may often start by giving you a broad or vague objective, "I'd like you to understand X and Y," but if you don't get there, your supervisor's responsibility is to figure out why and develop a plan of action.

> ... that company has the responsibility to give you focus and training on the requisites.

There are specific business reasons behind this: they need to maintain a team of people who are delivering enough value that the company can fulfill promises it makes to shareholders.

> The blame is never on the IC, unless they're not trying.

In the private sector, this is true, the IC won't get blamed. They'll get fired, and the supervisor will get blamed, but that doesn't help you much.

To make it work, the junior IC needs to build confidence in his managers that he's able to produce at the team's level. And you can take action, probably as simply as saying, "let's make some kind of agreement here that has specific deliverables."

To work out a plan, it helps to consider what they're looking for with stuff like "you should know how to X by now."

Contrary to popular belief, technical work is not a meritocracy, it's a mediocracy. If you're much better than everyone else, you can't share your work, and if you're far behind, you're not able to contribute. Having a bunch of people on the same "level" enables throwing more bodies at a problem.

> Never feel ashamed for not knowing something...

I'll add another thing to not be ashamed about, which is not being good enough to stay on a team. Even if it's theoretically possible for anyone to learn anything, time and expertise in teaching are scarce, so "train person A" has to be compared to "replace with person B."

Another military anecdote: I signed up as a cavalry scout, and learned to my dismay that I have no sense of direction. I managed to get by and finish my enlistment, but it was enough of an impediment that I'd never make rank.

It may be fucking soul-crushing, but it's not shameful if you give it your best. Work out a plan to get yourself to where you need to be, but account for the fact that failure is always an option. Prepare to take ownership of it, to candidly reassess your strengths and weakness and be ready to drive on. And be glad you didn't sign up for a goddamned five year enlistment.

Criticisms often bother us when we suspect they might be true I find. Not at all saying that your boss was right, but a lot of people have 'imposter syndrome' so it can become a case of 'agh, my negative internal monologue has been confirmed by an outside source'.

Is your boss just a bit of a dick that a lot of people dislike? If other people like your work it's probably way more about him than you.

Contrary to what he thinks, I do believe I have improved since I began, albeit not to the level he wanted. The "should know X by now" quote has bothered me, though, where I have asked myself his question in my own head.

For the most part he seems okay around others, but there have been a few times where I think people have picked up on his attitude.

Yeah sounds like it's his problem. Maybe he sucks at on-boarding, or maybe he's over-worked and it's easier to blame the underlings. Hope it doesn't mess with your head any more.

Sometimes I start questioning our existence but then I realize there’s no point in doing that and just go back to doing whatever it is I enjoy the most. ¯\_( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)_/¯

Yeah but for true anxiety (existential anxiety in this case) this does not work.

It's like telling people "If you're depressed, just be happy instead". If you could just stop thinking about it you would..

Yeah no, I get that. I was just talking about my case. I’m mostly happy tbh, but I’m pretty lucky. I know some people’s mental health is actually tied to some biological reasons.

I can't really think of anyone that DOESN'T have any mental issues. It can be as simple as self-doubt, especially if you're married with kids. I believe men suffer tremendously but never seek the necessary help. I'm lucky enough that my employer allows for free sessions, and I have and will continue to seek treatment since I benefited so much.

It's important to note that you HAVE to want it. If you have any bit of doubt or skepticism, it will work against you.

Just accept it as someone looking to really help and it will help!

> I can't really think of anyone that DOESN'T have any mental issues

Citation very, very badly needed. Can't make the assertion that _everyone_ is screwed up in the head without evidence.

I don't have issues; I get I'm a single datapoint, but your assertion was essentially that everyone's got them. So now you can think of one. I've got a happy life and everything's going well for me and my family. Hiccups here-and-there, like everyone, but good overall.

Agreed. It's especially important not to confuse a chronic issue with something like stress. If you experienced a major event and it forced you to work long hours, introduced a lot of uncertainty, strained your family, etc. you'd "have issues" but they'd be transient.

Okay, I'm wrong for saying that. I apologize. What I'm trying to say is that I would bet money everyone would benefit from some sort of counseling in their lifetime.

And tell your partner that you're going to therapy, you'd be amazed at how supportive they can/will be.

Although I am still on A/D meds, I am the best I have been in years because I escaped an emotionally abusive relationship a year ago. Since then, I have reclaimed stability and self-esteem by hitting the gym daily. The freedom to live without that influence is still amazing to me.

Bad, but slowly improving I think. I came close to committing suicide a couple of times in the last few months. After the first episode, I opened up to a close friend and family member about it. Then I decided to give therapy a shot. After the second attempt, I decided to try antidepressants. I'm on my second week of taking Lexapro 10mg and I think it's starting to make a difference.

Sending you a virtual hug. Hang in there.

Thank you.

Awful. My wife has a terminal illness and I'm struggling to work while taking care of her and shopping and cleaning and laundry and cooking and pets and school, etc.

When I say I'm struggling to work, I'm struggling to be clear-headed and effective at work. My co-workers are AWESOME and are helping to shoulder the load, and the upper management has been great giving me time to deal with appointments. I am contributing, but I know I'm not up to what I usually do.

I'm presently talking to some mental health professionals while getting the family to step up and help a bit, but it doesn't lessen the strain as much as I had hoped.

A loved one with a terminal illness is naturally going to take enough of your focus that you can't contribute as much as you otherwise could. Don't beat yourself up on that one, just enjoy the time you have left and focus on making as many memories as possible.

Even minor relationship hiccups can cause me to work at 30% barely being able to focus. In those times I just think that a work culture that implicitly expects its participants to deliver a constant quality level can only be considered inhumane.

I've never felt better.

I can count several years that were the worst of my life and it didn't make sense to go on -- my first year of graduate school when I got my life's worst grades, my girlfriend left me, I didn't have time for my hobbies, my roommates didn't pay bills in my name and broke my things, etc; also the year my first company almost wen bankrupt and I felt I couldn't trust anyone. Those experiences and getting out of them put my problems today in perspective.

I jump out of bed every morning. I love my work and the people I work with http://joshuaspodek.com/podcast. I'm passionate about my projects. There are hard challenges, but taking them on is the source of my purpose and gives me meaning.

I often feel bad and in those moments I wouldn't write like this. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but past disasters and my lessons from them tell me those moments will pass. My practices of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and sleeping a minimum that's right for me most nights are a solid foundation to build on.

I wrote my books on the NYU courses I teach that develop this lifestyle https://www.amazon.com/Initiative-Proven-Method-Bring-Passio... and https://www.amazon.com/Leadership-Step-Become-Person-Others/....

I took a storytelling class recently and the book we used as a text, "Storytelling and the art of Imagination" (Nancy Mellon) has some sound advice for using stories for healing purposes. I find it rather powerful as a way of extending journaling and taking it out of the nihlistic-ruminating mode that feeds anxious-depressed cycles - just taking control of an ordinary life story and adding a few fairy tale elements does a lot.

Going to some kind of life coach.

It helps to talk about my life with someone intelligent who isn't involved in any way.

Gives me some new perspectives.

I'm kinda neurotic (probably normal for a millenial, haha), but it's often hard for me to see the good things in life.

> probably normal for a millenial

Labels are better applied to food items than people.

I really don't to use an app and I don't buy mindfulness in the slightest so for me, I write down important things that are nagging at me at the end of the day or standout negative events etc in a little diary I keep in my bag so it's where even I am and I can keep track of these events

Apart from that, I take time to do things that are in no way related work so I go to the Cinema with non-IT people, I joined a cycling club where the only rules are that you're not allowed to talk shop or politics and we just trundle about talking about all sorts, what ever really.

Outside of that, I try and integrate exercise into my day so like, get off a bus stop early to work or cycle instead of talking the bus when it's not to cold or wet.

At the end of the week, I get off early to see my therapist and we just shoot the shit really and talk about all sorts, or sit in silence. I don't get the process, but it works whatever it is for the most part. As long as I'm not stressed, things generally aren't terrible, but they ain't always great either

> I don't buy mindfulness in the slightest

> I write down important things that are nagging at me

Sounds like you buy it at least a bit.

There can be overlap between methods doing CBT and mindfulness and I need to record my thoughts so I can have an honest conversation with my therapist.

Like maybe I should have been clearer with that specific sentiment because what I really have an issue with isn't the Hindu idea of mindfulness but with a company provided mindfulness program or say the hundred million dollar Headspace App mindfulness idea. I'd personally be deeply uncomfortable with giving that kind of deeply personal information over to anyone but my therapist who treat my data as health records and does everything on paper

> my therapist who treat my data as health records and does everything on paper

The downside of this, of course, is that you are relying on physical security only. All of the data is plaintext.

Not great. Monitoring my mental health is critical for me. I caught a severe TBI 8 years ago and things have never been the same. I hate the way my brain works now. I hate not being able to concentrate, not remembering a lot things, having to take stimulants, anti-seizure meds, and anti-depressants just to feel a bit normal. I especially hate the personality changes, however minor some of them are. I miss my old self more than anyone can imagine. Yes, I have therapists, physiatrists and doctors all on my side but every single day is still a struggle. It's taken a toll on my family and kids. Some days it seems like they're the only things keeping me going. It's easy to get down and to start wallowing in self-pity, but you just have to keep going. One thing, one step at a time. It could be worse.

I feel psychology has way many ways to help us. If you happen to open to new things:

- Personality psychology is insanely powerful and useful when it comes to understanding people / situations. An introduction to theories of personality Book by Robert B Ewen is gold.

Have you ever had gut instinct about how someone acts/a phenomena but lacked the words to express it? A distrust/discomfort, déjà vu, or feeling someone is being motivated by dredging up an issue from their past and trying to recreate it with you, to "try it on" you like a Cinderella slipper? (Could be in a good or bad way)

When you grasp the concepts, it can go well into looking at your family / upbringing, yourself, selecting a partner, personalities to distrust/avoid, etc.

Also you may find yourself liking concepts from Freud / Jung / Adler / Horney / Bowlby+Ainsworth and so on. That alone can give you a more informed perspective on behavior.

- Here's an example of professor using the above tools to dissect Twilight (haven't saw the movie or read it yet): Deconstructing Twilight: Psychological and Feminist Perspectives on the Series New edition Edition by Donna M. Ashcraft. She also written a personality theories workbook.

- Object relations stuff is absolutely awesome. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Myk352wMSs. IMO it's far easier to digest if you grasp psychodynamic theories above.

- Projective identification: https://youtu.be/cBnZiP3W3ao?t=1215

- You can then take it into individual (like schema therapy https://www.guilford.com/excerpts/young.pdf) and family therapy methods (e.g. Bowenian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLQOWoom2d0) where the concepts on the stuff above occur

I'm supposed to use a document template my therapist emailed me, most likely I will search for an app that does the same (too paranoid about printing and filling a document about my mood) -- so I don't track it yet.

I was diagnosed 5 years ago with BPD, has gotten better over the years(mostly by just life exposure I guess), I still get huge situational flare-ups, stuff about work or family, but I no longer react like a cornered animal, even at my worst I realise "this thing sucks at an intensity of 8/10, most likely it will subside in a day or two if I go back on buspirone, and if not, I have benzodiazepines as backup, sleep aids and so on".

Is the template something you could share? I'd be interested in seeing it, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

In the paste I've created text expansions for journaling forms I've wanted to use, then just dump them into the app I was using. Unfortunately I don't have those anymore.

The template is in romanian so I'll try and describe it, the columns are days of week, the lines are:

"Daily disposition" -5 Maximum Depression .. +5 full blown Mania

Wakeup hour

Breakfast hour

Lunch hour

Active hours per day (work, school or other)

Number of people you interacted with that day

Physical activity in hours

Dinner hour

Sleep hour

Substance consumption(alcohool, tobacco, coffee, other)

Special events/ conflicts


With an anxiety disorder, tracking your mental health more frequently than weekly is very likely seriously counterproductive.

Expanding now I've got more time: Obviously, thinking about having a mental health issue is itself likely to make you more anxious. Butat least some (all?) anxiety disorders are theorised to be runaway feedback loops. For example, social anxiety : worrying about some minor stumble occupies part of your brain and makes it harder to pay the attention necessary for good social interactions, and bad (or just indifferent) interactions make one more anxious, closing the loop. In this situation, paying attention to the anxiety is maladaptive.

Hopefully someone more qualified than me will correct this/ let us know how widely applicable it is.

Full disclosure, I work for a mental health startup.

Some of you may not know but many tech companies, especially in the Bay Area, has mental healthcare benefits via their EAP (Employee Assistance Program). You should find out from your HR. The one I work for makes a point of making it super easy to find a therapist for the patient and the appointments can be done in person or over video. EAPs are generally free. Please use it if you feel like you need it and take care of yourselves. Don't try to shrug it off -- approach it like how you would with other forms of health care.

> You should find out from your HR

I'm so torn about this advice. It's probably OK in most companies, but there certainly are companies where informing your employer that you feel the need of mental health assistance would harm your work situation.

If possible, it might be better to find what resources are available without involving HR or your manager. That information may be in the packet of stuff you got during onboarding, or on the employee web site, etc.

Ask for your benefits one pager. That way they won't know what specific benefit you're looking for.

Not great. I'm in my early 30's and I've never been able to keep a job for more than a few months. I never managed to perform to my true abilities. I've been to doctors and therapists and they tell me I'm not sick. In a way, I kind of wish I was depressed or had a regular label so I could at least have an explanation.

I never tell my friends about my issues. I can't even imagine how that conversation would go: "What happened about your last job?" "Oh, I can't reply to emails..."

Be more specific.

I start off in a new job feeling pretty ok, but quickly it just devolves into procrastination and anxiety. I feel to anxious to open my emails so I don't reply to anything and don't get anything done.

I actually took a remote job (hah) thinking that maybe getting out of the office environment would help. Nope, now all communication was online it felt even more stressful. They thought I'd been hit by a car or something when I just stopped contacting them.

Now my resume looks like swiss cheese and it's hard to even get interviews now. I mean, why would you hired someone who has so many short stints at so many different jobs.

I went to a top school as well, so I have to put up seeing my schoolmates making their millions and living lavish lifestyles. I just want a simple life and a job that I can do for more than a year.

My heart goes out to you. I have the exact same problem and it's not just with work. I've been unable to write long form since the beginning of high school. Funnily enough I managed to scrape through most of an English degree program until I dropped out in the fourth year.

IM is usually ok, unless I expect to be criticized.

My remote fiasco is pretty similar to yours. Eventually it got cut from a full time job to an hour a month maintenance gig. I ended it when I started an in-office job and supposedly sign again for easier paperwork. I've been putting it off for like 3 months and old boss doesn't even send reminders anymore.

Current job is very scrummy, very social. Coworkers are a chair roll away, so no email. Right now there's a lot of work and scarcely have time to go inside my head. I hope it helps, I really do.

I think I have figured out that I have adult ADHD, the innatentive kind, with problems of directing focus where I want it to be. If you give me something interesting, I can commit and spend a day absorbed in it but it's extremely hard to direct my focus where I need it to be - my head is full of ten things at the same time. Once adrenaline hits and the deadline draws near I can focus well but over the last years this always resulted in a crunch-exhaustion cycle, I've been through hundreds of those with a weekly interval and I think I've burnt out on that a little.

I've discovered this in the past months, where, for the first time, I've only had one single project at work instead of more than two. Before, I blamed this inability to focus on the amount of different issues and projects (that were mostly non-related in terms of subjects) that I had but now...

Now I find it's equally hard to focus on the one thing without getting distracted - and adrenaline helps to get the focus, so my weekly productivity looks just like before with more projects, just fewer peaks.

I've only got an appointment in January for diagnosis but since the DSM-V wasn't updated in terms of adult ADHD, a diagnosis involves answering questionnaires about when you were a kid more than the actual situation now.

Edit: typo

I'm doing okay these days. A year ago I started taking anti-anxiety meds at a very low dose and seeing a counselor every month or so. I also broke up with a partner who didn't treat me very well and met someone who I see a future with. A year and a half ago the answer would have been something like "thinking about going to emergency so that I don't hurt myself". All the changes I made felt small and insignificant at the time but they added up.

Can I ask what anti-anxiety meds are you taking?

Zoloft (sertraline) 50mg/day.

Its not easy to live openly as a survivor and I still struggle with it: I was repeatedly abused sexually as a child, my adopted mother had sex me when I was 6... but that is nothing compared to a sexual assault that I suffered at the hands of a nurse.

I won't go into the details; except to say that is was so traumatic I was blind to the scar that she left on my penis (my first real GF asked me how I got it at when I was 18, and even though it was plain as day I never noticed it!). I had no memory of her attack until about 40 years later, and I suffered severe headaches and bloody nightmares those for 40 years.

The day I remembered her attack the nightmares ended and I virtually never get any headaches--and when I do, half an aspirin cure's them; they are not the debilitating monsters that formerly haunted me. I know I have PTSD but its not easy to deal with my past... I get nauseous thinking about it (here it comes now in fact) but I'm better than I was before so, we'll keep chipping away at it for now. I have told one doc about this in detail a few years ago and an online chat buddy who was assaulted when she was a girl is a huge help in this.

I'm manic-depressive (diagnosed about two years ago), and honestly I'm really glad I discovered services like Doctor On Demand and Teladoc.

Seeing a doctor in person is a really time-consuming (and expensive if you're in the US and don't have good insurance), but Doctor on Demand/Teladoc makes it relatively cheap and easy to see a therapist who can actually prescribe any help you out.

I'd say if I was seek help I'd have some issues with depression and anxiety. I think most people have some low grade difficulties.

I've learnt that the following are important:

* Keep in contact with friends. Isolation is a killer to my mental health. * Don't burn out. Long hours destroy my ability to focus then I get down about my ability to work. This leads to a depression like state that is hard to shake. * Avoid behavious I disagree with. Everyone has a moral code they live by. I find if I do things that violate mine the internal conflict is very destructive to me mental health. * Avoid addictions. Name your vice here. I have an addictive personality keeping away from addictions is key to staying sane. * Never play the victim. I'm always able to improve my life somehow even if it's just developing a better internal view of my external circumstances. My happiness is my own doing.

Tracking my mental health is something I've never consciously considered... But there are some things I guess do, which all improve my mental state:

- Improve physical health -> I walk the dog, run, kite surf. Exercise make you feel healthy and better.

- Expressing myself -> Participate in discussions (like this), talk about issues, explain problems to someone. Expressing yourself greatly improves your own mental state.

- Making Things -> creating things (programming, woodworking), work on many side projects, learn/refine skills.

- Trying Comedy -> Not standup, just trying to make people laugh in conversation is rewarding and improves your brain.

- Focusing on Relationships -> Friends, family, partners; can help you improve yourself and remind you your not alone.

Hmmm, it looks like all these concepts are entangled with each other anyway.... (Note to self: express yourself more clearly)

My mental health is okay at the moment. I spent the last few years in therapy, which helped me work through a lot of intellectual and emotional scar tissue. I'm no longer on antidepressants, and it's nice not having a dry mouth all the time.

I have little questionnaires and signposts that I have developed for myself. I write a weekly-ish email to a list of friends, and if I don't have anything to say, I know that I haven't had enough time for reflection, which will make everything else cascade. It's not the reflection itself, but the absence of reflection is a good proxy. Similarly, I try to stay aware of how "tattered" my mental state is.

Sleep, diet, enough space in my life where reflection occurs naturally, and enough physical exertion that I don't feel awful are the biggest factors at this point.

People today have very good rational and reasonable reasons to feel like shit. The corporate or 'world' value system is at odds with what we viscerally understand being compatible with any sort of quality future. We are angry and frustrated because we have every fucking reason to be so.

So what now?

    * You acknowledge that most stress comes from value system miss-alignment and its implications. 
    * You start or continue doing whatever you can to get the real issues fixed. 
    * You need to come to a place where you are able to survive today
        * Exercise
        * Read Kafka
        * Read the meditations of Marcus Aurelius
        * Find a friend https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3CBOpT2-NRvoc2ecFMDCsA

Excuse if this is a naive question. How does one go about evaluating one's own mental health?

That's a really great question.

Honestly? If you're asking that question, I'd say that you shouldn't. Instead, you should see a therapist or counselor.

The reason for this is that one of the primary things a good therapist does for you is to teach you how to do that, and what to do with the insights a self-evaluation gives you.

Seeking a therapist is not something that should be limited to people who are in crisis, and is not a commitment to lifelong therapy. Any good therapist will be thrilled to hear that you want to see them to learn how to evaluate and manage your mental health.

For anyone feeling stressed out here's a small exercise to feel a bit better https://howitzer.co/how-to-feel-better-in-5-minutes/

Bad. I've suffered from depression for ages. I'm an academic teaching at a small college in a small rural town. I wish I could regularly see a therapist, but there's no one within an hour of where I live. Definitely feel trapped.

What kind of stuff do you teach? Do you enjoy teaching at least?

It's going downhill, Having trouble adjusting at my internship. It's in South East Asia and I'm from Europe. When we spoke on skype during the interview, I was under the impression that the startup company had a lot of structure and wanted to help me improve as a developer.

In the first 2 weeks, I did absolutely nothing and was encouraged to watch some react tutorials on youtube. I bugged them multiple times stating I wanted to work on something and feel productive. After 2 weeks, I was placed on a team working on a web app that was tied together by duct tape. With only 1 week of react knowledge, it wasn't hard to spot that this code was a mess, especially the styling side of things was painful. They tasked me with making the site responsive, for which they provided me with the mobile screens and said good luck. They use a mix of Styled components, css, scss and style attributes. 95% of the pages were written with hardcoded margins and paddings which led me to essentially rewrite almost all of the layout. It was mentally draining. Once I was finally finished with this the client wanted a rebranding and they essentially changed a lot of the styling and layout, so I was back to square one, luckily while making it responsive I stripped out a lot of double css rules and added variables to make it easier to work with some colours and margins etc.

On top of this scrum is only partly being used, so clients get free reign mid-sprint, a scrum board doesn't exist, story points aren't really discussed they are just guestimated by the Project manager and all tasks are listed as git issues with about a million different labels.

I'm now on a new team where I actually have an interesting project however, the specs keep changing. The senior developer didn't have faith in my implementation, which led to me implementing his idea only for him to realize I was right in the first place. There is no involvement and no one wants to pick up responsibility to the point where I also stopped caring, which I guess is what happened to everyone else here. Wages are low in this country but all the customers are in Europe so it is kind of starting to feel like I'm just really cheap labor for them.

It's just really draining, the traffic here is really bad which causes me to leave in the dark and get home in the dark. There are 2 and a half more months to go and I don't really see it getting better.

Please tell me not all internships are like this and things will get better. Also any tips are welcome, I might be naive or lack experience and I'm just seeing things the wrong way.

I'm going to post something that's not directly on topic, and is perhaps not that interesting in the grand scheme of things.

And it is going to ramble a bit. There is a summary at the end.

Shortly after 11am Pacific, 12 days ago, on his 74th birthday, my father walked into the backyard of his home of 42 years, sat in a lawn chair, and used a .357 magnum revolver to end his life.

He played virtually no role in raising me; at my parents request, his parents became my legal guardians when I was six years old, and prior to that, I spent most of my time at their house anyway.

His parents had only a single child, and my parents had only a single child.

I lived in my dad's house for five years in the 1980s while attending university, but working a full time job and taking 50% more classes than a full load meant I was almost never home and awake at the same time. Since then, except for some long pauses, we've communicated mostly via e-mail, with fewer than half a dozen phone calls.

His first wife, my mother, left him in the mid 1970s and he re-married a year later. His 2nd wife, Jane, had even less connection to me.

My grandparents were excellent guardians and parents, and I was nurtured and well cared for.

Jane died a few years ago after being married to my dad for 38 years after a prolonged and terrible fight with breast cancer. Nine years prior, she had forbidden him to communicate with me, and he had agreed, so I'd not heard from him in most of a decade.

He contacted me the day after she died via e-mail. Near the end of her life, she had given him the go ahead to resume communications with me after she died.

Born in the mid 1940s, my father would very likely be evaluated as being on the autistic spectrum as things are seen today. Just like his father and his son.

He had an easy charisma, but that was very shallow: he was functionally socially retarded. Besides the small number of women in his life, he had created almost no substantial social bonds.

When we did communicate, we got along quite well, but, in a fairly friendly but irresistible way, he almost sought to 'manage' the conversation, moving it in his own interests and directions. And there was always at least a mild to moderate negative/paranoid tone.

In general, even though the overall communications were cordial and friendly, I didn't really like to engage with him, because I felt a little worse about things after. Not a lot, but a bit.

Anyway, about a year after Jane's death, he met and started building a relationship with another woman, named Rosie. She is about 14 years younger than him. And their relationship blossomed, though with some troubling caveats.

She insisted he tell nobody about her or their relationship, and said she could not tell her family about it, for various seemingly, on the surface, plausible reasons. Of course he told me about it, since I was the only other person in the world he really talked to.

Though she didn't ask for it directly, last year he took most of the value out of his house and bought her a nice condo.

Moving ahead more briefly, she dumped him in February 2019. He was shattered, and rightly felt betrayed. He began to plan his exit at that time, eight months before his birthday.

He and I continued to exchange e-mails, perhaps one per week, and I had no hint or indication of his plans.

As was his style, every detail had been taken care of. He placed a 'packet' on the kitchen table: burial clothes, a note, a legal copies of various legal documents. That morning, he put a large package of all kinds of legal documentation, along with 15 pages of explanation and other important information in the mail, to be delivered to me the next day. He had enumerated where everything of value could be found in the house, which he had almost completely emptied. Included was detailed contact information: mortuary, lawyers, information on the reverse mortgage he had taken out, and detailed hand-written notes explaining all sorts of relevant details.

He setup a 'direct burial', next to Jane, in the Riverside National Cemetery, since he was a veteran. 'direct burial': no service, just straight from coroner to mortuary to the ground.

He and Jane took care of and loved many cats and a couple of dogs over the years, and that work brought them great joy. Rosie insisted that he get rid of all of his pets, and he did so.

The homicide detective I spoke to said that this was the most straightforward case she'd ever seen. His body cleared the Los Angeles County coroners office in a single day, which the mortuary had a hard time believing was possible.

He died as he lived: with meticulous planning and attention to detail.

Here he is, 69 or 70 years of age, a quick photo of his drivers license. Before this photo, the last time I had seen him was in 2004, before he started working out. This picture was striking because I'd never seen him have a 'thin' face.


This event has been challenging for my wife, son and I but not shattering, since none of us had any kind of non-surface relationship with him.

But it has brought into focus a few things.

In summary: building and maintaining multiple personal connections is critically important. My father was in the fullness of health, even in his 70s, working out several hours every morning.

Fundamentally, why did he choose suicide? At this time, I'd say the most proximate cause was the terrible, untimely death of his wife. But that didn't need to be the end. He had never learned how to create and maintain healthy relationships. Why? That's hard to say with any certainty, but (probably) being on the autism spectrum likely played a part.

I'll end this ramble here: the one thing he repeated most often in our communications over the years was the importance of holding my wife and son very close. In truth, their presence has helped bring me through many difficult times over the decades.

Rest in peace, dad.

Robert W. Diederich

October 24th, 1945 - October 24th, 2019



PS: Thank you for reading this.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.

My current mental health has a direct relationship with sleep and exercise, which I guess means that it's as good as it can be (i.e. everything is more or less under my control). That being said - it's pretty good.

exercise, omg you have no idea how much this helps.

Is there something wrong with the way I jog? Because I don't find it to be making much of a difference. Same for cycling, walking, etc.

I find that a goal for exercise helps a lot. If jogging is your thing then sign up for a 5k(or longer if that's where you're at) and then set a goal time and training plan. Seeing improvement over time is what helps me. Even if I don't feel like I have control over my job or feel stuck in my career, I can at least improve my fitness. When I'm aimless in my fitness goals then I'm less motivated to do it and if I do get my butt off the couch then I'm less motivated to work hard while I'm training.

Try more strength training rather than cardio.

Try interval swimming. Go into it fully, explore different movements, sweat it out and stick to it.

Look up ghostlighting, make adjustments.

where do you jog? do you jog with someone? sometimes that makes a huge difference. I try to jog outside in the morning or during lunch.

Here, alone: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/62.2298738,25.7369546/62.229...

I'm really not a morning person, and my lunch breaks are stretching long enough as it is.. that really leaves after work as the only passable time.

This is a timely thread in my life. Thank you starting it. I do a number of the things mentioned here already. A couple quick questions for some with experience:

1. What are some good resources to get into meditation? I’ve tried several times and I feel like I keep starting in the wrong place with overgeneralized information. I don’t think I know anyone in real life that does it either.

2. How do you deal with some anxieties that might be brought on by age? I find my mind wandering to existential things I’ve never cared about before more and more frequently as I age. I haven’t found a great way to deal with it yet.

Not great. I'm at an all time confidence low. In my personal life I feel like I'm not respected by the people closest to me. In my professional life I feel like I've moved to a role that I can't and don't want to grow in. For the first time in my career I do not like work. I feel stressed and overloaded with 'busy' work.

I was thinking of getting a life coach or something similar. Does anyone have experience with that?

To end on a positive note, I'm eating well (mainly a plant based diet) and working out more than normally within the last few years.

Who hasn’t got problems these days? Anxiety, stress, work pressure, financial problems, health issues and many more contribute in creating many mental health related issues that most of us take as granted in our modern lives :-( I understand that for people diagnosed with a condition and on medication is more serious than the rest of us, but I think if affects all of us. What I find working for me is keeping my mind occupied with stuff (technology, photography, music, books...) and talking to other people. Reading HN late at night really helps a lot.

It would be better if I didn't have to deal with people all day.

Personally I didn't, even though the markers were there. Not from a head-in-sand attitude, more that I did not want it to be a self-conjured certainty by constantly fretting over a 'what-if'. I figured that if lightning was going to strike it would and not worrying about it allowed me several peaceful and productive years. Equally if lightning hadn't struck then I would have spent my time here on earth stressing about something that never happened.

I am building a mood tracker that I plan to transform into a quiet social network that has tracking mental health as one of the objectives.

But... I will actually link you to my competitor. They have a much more polished and stable software now, they are the biggest player in the space of mood tracking and loved by its users: https://daylio.webflow.io/ (They have a generous free plan)

It’s a continuous effort in paying attention to my mood, physical exercise, good sleep, journaling, meditation, a healthy diet, and quality time with friends. And even with all of that sometimes things break down. I’ve written a post about my habits here, perhaps someone might find it helpful.


I like this idea, but I'm far too afraid that this information can be leaked out, or that companies and .govs will try to buy it from the software company.

Do you mean concerns with tracking all your health via digital means?

Starting a business is a rewarding challenge to do something I believe is truly impactful and I actively choose to be very optimistic about it. However, there are many other personal things I can't ignore like relationships and bills plus past experiences that cast doubt over it all.

I manage it by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, relatively clean diet, and most importantly, appreciating/enjoying what I do have right now.

Horrible as always. Constantly stressed out. Pulled in 3 different directions at work. Can't get meaningful work done. Procrastinating. Etc.

IDK if this is a "mental" health issue, but my caffeine consumption is not helping my problems but I don't feel like myself on "slow days".

Otherwise fine. I guess I could use more/better relationships but am working on it. Occasionally there'll be a 8 or 12 hour stretch that is barely tolerable, but I tell myself everything shall pass and then it does, so.

Bad enough to get involuntarily committed. Good enough to say the right things to avoid being committed. Somewhat ironically if I get committed I'll almost certainly off myself because the idea of restarting from being broke, unemployed, and homeless again is a complete non starter.

Today I learned 4 people suicided because of lack of money. All of them were over 40, I am sad the people of this country couldn't see them. I am sad I know some people will have it in future for just same reason. I am sad it could be me I am sad I can be one of my family member.

it's alright. could be better, could be worse, but thanks for asking!

I'm currently physically not well, I have the symptoms of hypopituidarism with all the hormonal imbalance issues and it's taken a mental toll. waiting to get my brains scanned.

I'm burnt out, not because of my work but my physical health makes my work mentally too hard and tiring for me.

So, I'm gonna quit after taking a longer sick leave. I made up my mind a few months ago and I've just tried to finish in up my loose ends at work, but haven't disclosed any of my issues to anyone at work yet. it's a bit shitty thing to do, but I'm awkward and I'd feel bad if I knew I'd have to go back there for a month after handing in my resignation.

So, there's that basically.

I’ve actually just started a new podcast on discussing mental health in the software development industry. It’s called Happy Dev https://happy-dev.transistor.fm

Episode one will be out tomorrow morning!

Will check it out. Thanks for sharing.

It's pretty good. Mainly in 'maintenance' mode, doing minor improvements. The whole stop letting stuff you can't change bother you and focus on what you can change. Common advice, but easier said than followed.

Terrible. I bailed out of a contract because not only was the working environment very poor, but I also recognised I was a long way from being useful there. I'm two weeks out and lost.

Bailing on that contract sounds to me like a very healthy action. May I offer a suggestion or two for what to do next?

First, keep (or reestablish) the routine you had while working. That is, get up at the time you used to, get ready for a workday as if you still worked there, and work.

You didn't really quit working, you just changed your job from whatever you did as a contractor to finding a replacement gig. So do that -- find another contract, find a permanent position, engage in skill-expanding or continuing education activities, and so forth. Anything that is a step in the direction you want to go.

Remember, the journey to success really is done one step at a time.

Thankfully I have a child and a partner. They really save me, I go to bed before 12 and get up to take baby to nursery.

Weirdly after writing the original message, I had my first good day.

I'm much better since I got out of coding and into analyst/architect role. I guess I'm not well suited to interact with a machine for 40 hours per week.

I have social anxiety disorder. My mental health has gotten worse since starting a new job with 100% pairing. I don't want to pair every day and I try to bring up that I would like to pair less but it does no good. I say hey I would like to pair less and the response is always "how can we make pairing better"? No one cares that I actually don't want to pair. I have gone from having panic attacks once every few months to weekly. I assume I will get fired at some point over this. No one at works likes me. Some dislike me but most are indifferent. At my last job I had a few people I was friends with.

My wife wants to have kids but I don't think it would be at all responsible with my mental health the way it is to have kids. Shit sucks. I have a great relationship with my wife and with my parents. I grew up in an upper middle class family in a stable home. I was never bullied.

SSRIS makes me super tired, to the point I fall asleep when taking them. I am already low energy, so with SSRI's it is completely unworkable. Besides I feel like a zombie on them. I am a runner, am not overweight, and have a good diet. Still energy levels are low. My most happy time is my daily run.

I went to 2 different therapists like 2 years ago. I left both of them because it felt like I was paying for someone to pretend to care and they didn't care about me at all. It is probably not at all true, but my brain views stuff this way. I should go to therapy again, but I live in America. I am scared they will put me on some kind of list, either government or employee blacklist if I do. Also it is expensive and I am terrified of being fired and becoming homeless.

I often write long messages like this, send it, and then panic about it hours or days later and delete them. There are random people at work that for whatever reason my brain got scared of and I can't even look at them. This makes things super awkward, because they just think I am an ass. I don't actually not like them, my brain just panics seeing them. They weren't mean to me or anything. My goal is to get into a top company, save a lot so I can retire or withstand any worsening in my mental health.

I get panic attacks in about a third of job interviews. I felt like I was fairly close to getting into one of the faangs, but my anxiety made me preform worse than I should. I will probably try to again, but the interview circuit isn't that fun when you are guaranteed to get a panic attack.

I feel like I am in the mental health closet like gay people used to have to be in the closet. I am not a danger to anyone. I wouldn't hurt a fly. I am just not as pleasant to be around as someone with no mental health issues.

There's no easy solution to what you are facing.

One thing that might be helpful is for you to go to therapy with your wife. When your brain panics at interacting with other people, your perception of others might be skewed. Maybe your therapists meant well and your anxiety got in the way of you continuing with them. Your wife can help provide you with perspective with any therapist you meet. Just a sanity check after a session can help with judging your own thoughts. Separating what is anxiety and what is your own thoughts. Please try to find another therapist, one you connect with.

Also, check the laws with each therapist you meet with. They have strict privacy laws around those sessions.

That is a good idea. I agree that my therapists likely did mean well but my anxiety skewed my perceptions.

It's possible you didn't find the right kind of therapist. My first therapist made me hate therapy and I felt exactly as you did, like they were paid to care but didn't actually. My next therapist was very matter of fact and his style worked with my way of thinking well - the illness in question was a problem with moving parts that he helped me to identify and fix rather than emotional issue. I can't say that you need the same things as me but I hope you find might find the time and head space to try again.

Thanks I appreciate it.

I study at CMU. 'nuff said.

Doing better. I gave up on my job a month ago. Not sure what I’m going to do now.

I hate working and I'm pretty bummed I have to do it everyday.

> How and how well do you keep track of your mental health

Mentally. Not very well. This is an area in need of improvement for me. I'm mid-30s and mental health is getting to be pretty important as of late.

> , particularly for those with a history of mental health issues, and those with a family history of mental issues.

TBQH I think that means everyone.

I live in America. In America, mental health takes a backseat to just about everything. Man up and get work done. If you've got a mental issue then feel free to get fired because there's a dozen more people behind you waiting to be employed for just as cheap. If you can't afford to be fired then that's just too bad.

I don't trust insurance companies. Outside of insurance, therapists are expensive as !@#$, particularly if you're poor. You're paying for someone else's time and "time is money, friend."

My employer's insurance has an Employee Assistance Program. I looked at it and... therapy is over the phone??? I would never talk therapy to someone over the phone. First I have a lot of trouble understanding people on the phone. The audio quality is poor to begin with but I genuinely have trouble hearing/understanding/remembering/responding to words people say. There's a ton of body language which is just gone when you're talking on the phone (or VOIP or even webcam). There's a delay between transmission and reception. Then there's also the fact that phones aren't secure. I have trust issues so security is important.

I have literally no idea how to even find a therapist other than asking my employer's insurance company for a list. I don't want to do that. I don't want to tip anyone off to think "oh man @inetknght is a mental case, we'd better fire them" or "@inetknght thinks dark thoughts, we need to put them in a mental cell" which is basically a permanent thing (good luck getting out of a mental cell). I know there are different kinds of therapists and I have no idea how to find the "right" kind nor how to find the right trustworthy kind. I have no idea how to find someone I could trust.

A lot of that is part of growing up poor, nearly destitute. So I've had no direct opportunities to be diagnosed with any sort of mental issues either. Mental health wasn't covered under my parents' insurance (when we had even some health insurance), and was never part of any school program (not that I had much school), and no employer seemed interested in the mental health of employees. Growing up, I'd heard many anecdotes about people who had a mental breakdown and were quickly dismissed from employ so I definitely never mentioned it merely out of fear of "oh is this something we should worry for you, uniquely? then you're fired". Literally nobody even asked about my mental health until after I was 30.

I'm willing to admit that I'm terrified of going to a therapist. Terrified of the therapist thinking I'm a nutcase when all I did is grow up on the internet with a different set of social values than those around me. Terrified that one therapist would think my rights need to be taken away. So I bury my head and don't tackle the problem because there isn't an easy trustworthy discrete door to go into. There's no way I'd trust any business with my mental health. Not insurance, not a silicon valley startup, and not my employer. No way in hell.

I also know that if there's an emergency then I have friends who I trust to help. They're more than I used to have a few years ago; I used to be depressed to the edge of suicide. My friends have helped a lot in fixing that. They're not therapists. They're more support than what others might have, though, and that means a lot to me.

Tracking mental health? That sounds like a good direction. I'm not opposed to an app to do that but I wouldn't put that on my phone. Nor would I put it on my computer. I wouldn't put it anywhere with internet access. Requiring internet access would be a non-starter.

I live in America, too, and it sucks, from a healthcare perspective. I've seen about 6-7 therapists in my life, and I would see two of them again, and one of those I definitely can't afford to. I think you should try it once and "normalize" the act to yourself. Give yourself 3-4 sessions with someone and if it feels weird, cancel or switch. It can be expensive, but you should really try it, because it can be highly effective for many people. I haven't seen a therapist in about a year, and don't have healthcare, but I would if it were easier and more affordable.

It sounds like therapy would be helpful for you. It's highly unlikely they will think your "rights need to be taken away" unless they think someone is going to get physically hurt.

If you can afford it, many therapists accept cash only and in that case, they don't have to diagnose you with anything since they aren't reporting to insurance. You also don't need to go to any therapist that isn't right for you.

Yes, but... is there a listing somewhere which can be looked at discretely for accredited therapists?

Go to a library and use a computer to look at something like: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists or Google search "therapists in <City>" or "<disorder> treatment in <City>"


Fuckin garbage, like most people lately, if studies are to be believed...genuinely thanks for asking.


That was pretty insensitive and pretty ignorant of the reality of life for some of us here. This is a mental health thread. Comments like yours aren't needed. The commenter you responded to didn't elaborate beforehand so you just assumed away a whole host of possible valid explanations for why they feel they are dying slowly; way to go. Next time please be more thoughtful if you can?

Once you fix the third world problems, you don't die from child-birth, malaria, pollution or civil war.

You still die just as dead from diabetes, heart disease, suicide and cancer.

Believe or not, its the lack of 3rd world problems that contribute to mental health imo

There's a whole book on this: Tribe, by Sebastian Junger.

I'm slowly dying of America. Thanks for asking, though.

Please elaborate. Genuinely curious.

Mate, we're all slowly dying.

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